DORSET GPs are being asked to keep things simple when seeking patient feedback.

Research by health and care champion Healthwatch England adds to growing evidence that people recognise the pressures the NHS is under and want to help make it better by sharing feedback.

The key to turning the public’s willingness to provide feedback into useful insight is to keep it simple.

According to a poll by YouGov for Healthwatch, 76 per cent of adults would be interested in sharing their feedback with GPs to improve services but only 23 per cent said that they had actually provided feedback. The most common reason given was that patients are unsure how to provide comments and raise concerns.

Of those who had provided feedback to their family doctor, the most popular option was the traditional comments box, followed by face-to-face feedback to GP practice reception staff, and to GP themselves.

Healthwatch Dorset is calling on GP practices, as the front line of the health service, to send a strong signal to patients that the NHS is open and interested in listening to their views.

Healthwatch Dorset is also encouraging GPs and other primary care staff to share their own stories on how patient feedback has helped them to learn and improve the way they provide care.

Martyn Webster, Healthwatch Dorset Manager, said: “Patient satisfaction with GP services in Dorset is high, but at the same time some people find difficulty actually getting those services in the first place. We recently carried out a “mystery shopper” project in which our volunteers contacted GP surgeries to find out what it’s like to try to register with a GP in Dorset and to get appointments (urgent and routine).

“We discovered that out of 97 GP surgeries in Dorset only seven did not require ID or proof of address to register a patient. This has an impact on people generally, but also particularly on a number of potentially vulnerable people. There’s also a wide variation in waiting times for GP appointments, and the information provided was sometimes inaccurate and could be different depending on if you rang, looked online or called in person.”


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